From lunch club to pálinka shots

What this cul­ture vul­ture ate for a week by Rea McNa­mara

Bayview Post - - Food -

To de­but our new din­ing col­umn, we en­listed the Gar­diner Mu­seum’s Rea McNa­mara, who worked on pro­gram­ming for this month’s Yoko Ono ex­hibit, to de­tail her most event­ful meals over the course of a week. MON­DAY, JAN. 15 Just af­ter Christ­mas, my moth­erin-law died. She was a fiercely in­de­pen­dent 20th-cen­tury wo­man who sur­vived WWII and the Hun­gar­ian Revo­lu­tion to be­come the first fe­male doc­tor at St. Joe’s. She in­tro­duced me to so many de­li­cious Hun­gar­ian dishes — gom­boc, széke­lyká­poszta and lán­gos are my favourites. For New Year’s Eve, I made a cholent, a Jewish beef stew, us­ing Saveur recipe that orig­i­nated at Bu­dapest’s beloved Fülemüle Ét­terem restau­rant. It turned out … OK. All this to ex­plain why I ate cholent this evening — I froze half of the stew. TUES­DAY, JAN. 16 To­day is lunch club. Here at the Gar­diner, we have a group of about 10 gour­mands that comes to­gether weekly to break bread. This week was my co-worker Ju­lia’s turn, and man, she killed it. We had Span­ish tor­tilla, roasted egg­plant with miso, Span­ishMex­i­can meat­balls.… Ju­lia’s Mex­i­can, but her part­ner is Span­ish, hence the meat­balls. They were sea­soned so well — my mom was born in Trinidad, so I grew up with Caribbean food and a love for spice. Next month is my turn. I’ve been mean­ing to go full Trini on ev­ery­one: gar­lic pork, callaloo, mac­a­roni pie — the works! I like my co-work­ers, but I have to think hard if they’re worth the five days it takes to make gar­lic pork. WED­NES­DAY, JAN. 17 I met this af­ter­noon with lo­cal per­for­mance provo­ca­teur Keith Cole at Gold­struck Cof­fee on Cum­ber­land. I got a cor­tado. He got a cap­puc­cino. He wanted to give me my copy of

that we’re read­ing for Fado’s Per­for­mance Club 2. Keith had me laugh­ing about this poem he wrote about Marie Os­mond’s Nutri­fast com­mer­cial for my part­ner’s birth­day. THURS­DAY, JAN. 18 I work in cul­ture, so when pos­si­ble, I’m at an open­ing on Thurs­day or Fri­day. It’s im­por­tant for what I do to be aware of what’s hap­pen­ing and also to sup­port lo­cal gal­leries and project spa­ces. It also means I’m work­ing late and, there­fore, I have a liq­uid din­ner. The night be­gan with a few glasses of white at Daniel Faria Gallery on St. Helens for the open­ing of Steven Beckly’s show, which runs un­til Feb. 24. Daniel’s open­ings are my favourite be­cause he al­ways has these ab­so­lutely fit men in black serv­ing free wine and beer. Then I hopped in a cab to the Glad­stone for Come Up To My Room. Af­ter­wards? Pizza at Piz­zaiolo. (I was hangry, and when I’m hangry, I’ll eat any­thing.) FRI­DAY, JAN. 19 I was at work late be­cause I’m over­see­ing a pub­lic pro­gram all day to­mor­row. I met my part­ner for din­ner at Iman­ishi on Dun­das West. I ap­pre­ci­ate their staff, the wabi sabi decor vibes and the on­point playlists. They do this fried egg­plant mar­i­nated in cold dashi ginger and sweet gar­lic Nagoy­astyle wings that are to die for. SATUR­DAY, JAN. 20 I over­saw a one-day work­shop in­ten­sive for artists and mak­ers in ce­ram­ics. There was a lot of buzz and pos­i­tiv­ity, and I rode off on that en­ergy to head over to Mount Pleas­ant Fu­neral Cen­tre for my mom-in-law’s cel­e­bra­tion of life. There was a toast with pálinka, which is a Hun­gar­ian fruit brandy. I grazed on cheese, cured meats, poğaça and my sis­ter-in-law’s körözött, a de­li­cious cheese spread that my mom-in-law used to make. I def­i­nitely had two (or three?) shots of the pálinka. I have no re­grets. SUN­DAY, JAN. 21 Self-care Sun­day! I’m a Taurus, so my favourite thing is to sleep in, snug­gle with my three cats and read the pa­per. Even­tu­ally, I made an au­tumn gold car­rot-yam soup from a Lorna Sass cook­book, aided by a mar­tini and One Di­rec­tion’s (Yes! I am a One Direc­tioner. FIGHT ME.)

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